Tuberc Respir Dis.  2012 Jan;72(1):59-62.

A Case of Chylothorax after Tube Thoracostomy

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Gangneung Asan Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Gangneung, Korea.


Tube thoracostomy is known to cause complications such as bleeding or infection, but the incidence of chylothorax secondary to tube thoracostomy is under-reported, and therefore, we report this case. A patient was diagnosed as systemic lupus erythematosus with pleural and pericardial involvement. During repeated therapeutic thoracentesis, which were performed because of poor response to steroids and cylophosphamide, hemothorax developed and we therefore inserted a chest tube. The pleural effusion changed from red to milky color in several hours and we diagnosed the pleural effusion as chylothorax. Total parenteral nutrition based on medium-chain triglycerides was supplied to this patient and chylothorax was improved after 4 days.


Chylothorax; Chest Tubes; Complications

MeSH Terms

Chest Tubes
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic
Parenteral Nutrition, Total
Pleural Effusion


  • Figure 1 (A) Chest X-ray study before thoracentesis. (B) Large amount of pleural effusion occurred after thoracentesis due to iatrogenic hemothorax. (C) After chest tube insertion.

  • Figure 2 Gross finding of pleural fluid after chest tube thoracostomy. The milky appearance of the pleural fluid with a top white, creamy layer in the container.


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